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Social media was an unceasingly present topic throughout the “TRENDs Communications Live: Annual Communications Legal Update,” Oct. 26 in Washington, and for good reason: social media are indispensable to an association’s communications, and therefore an unavoidable issue for an audience of communications executives.
Consider attorney Erik Pelton’s presentation on intellectual property. IP is now intertwined with the Web, and online communications are inseparable from social media, which inevitably led to a discussion on Twitter and Facebook, with mentions of Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google +, as a friendly reminder that the landscape is expanding well beyond status updates.
The real question looming over the conference was: we’re here, we’re on Twitter – now what? The root of such uncertainty was most succinctly captured by attorney A.J. Zottola, who in a few introductory words summed up the entire breakfast. “The law doesn’t do a good job of keeping up with technology,” he said. “Old rules are entering new space.”
Joining Pelton and Zottola on stage at the breakfast were attorney Jeff Altman, National Grange communications director Amanda Leigh Brozana, and American Wind Energy Association media strategies deputy director Lauren Glickman.
Take-aways from the TRENDS annual Communications Legal Update:
- Using the copyright or trademark symbols asserts a claim over your information. You do not have to register the information, but it is easier to enforce an infringement claim if it is.
- Under the work for hire doctrine you need a written assignment of ownership rights. "I paid for it" is not enough.
- For your social media, enforce a take down policy.
Facebook and Twitter's privacy use statement are designed for them. Your organization needs its own privacy use statement.
Make people include their names when leaving comments through your social media as a deterrent to leaving questionable remarks and a sign that it is that person’s opinion, not necessarily the association’s.
- An association can insist there be no discussion of candidate support through its social media if your organization is nonpartisan.